MACON, Ga. (April 18, 2010) - With a record-tying three team championships already this spring, the No. 31-ranked ETSU men's golf team will take aim at capturing the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference championship beginning Monday at the Legends Course at Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga.
The Buccaneers and 20th-ranked UNF, which won its first A-Sun Golf Championship in 2008 at the nearby Woodlands Course, enter the event as the conference's top-ranked schools. However, defending champion Campbell will also be considered a contender this week.
ETSU, a perennial national force, enters the A-Sun Championship filled with confidence after taking its last tournament, the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational, in wire-to-wire fashion. The win represented the Buccaneers' third team title of the spring, matching the 2001 squad for the most team titles during the spring semester in program history. A Buccaneer has won the medalist honor at each of the last three A-Sun Championships (current members Seamus Power (Waterford, Ireland) in 2007 and Michael Stewart (Troon, Scotland) in 2009 along with Gareth Shaw in 2008). Only once before in league history had a school produced three consecutive individual champions. In the 1980's, members of the Houston Baptist squad earned the title - Darryl Henning in 1984, Colin Montgomerie in 1985 and Fred Benton in 1986.
The Ospreys have spent the entire season among the nation's top 20 programs and picked up a pair of victories during the spring season, winning the John Hayt Collegiate Invitational and the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate in their final tune-up for the A-Sun Championships. Sophomore Sean Dale earned Golfer of the Month honors for September while freshman Kevin Phelan won for the month of March after turning in three top-10 showings.
Ten years after capturing its first A-Sun Championship, Campbell seized the 2009 crown, holding off final-day rallies from UNF and Mercer. The Camels return plenty of talent from their championship squad, headlined by the runner-up at last year's event and the reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Vaita Guillaume. Early in the spring season, Guillaume tied the Campbell 18-hole scoring record when he fired an 8-under, 64 at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Mardi Gras Invitational en route to one of his three top-five finishes this season.
Last season, the A-Sun Championship expanded its field to its largest size, 11 teams, since 2005 with the inclusion of FGCU and USC Upstate. The Eagles represented themselves well, finishing fifth, one stroke behind ETSU while two Spartans, Josh Gallman and Michael Lawrence, turned in top-10 finishes. The Eagles won three team titles in the fall and three individuals, Daniel Mazziotta, Patrick Williams and Michael Hart picked up tournament titles this season. Gallman and Brian Horton shared medalist honors at the Palmas Del Mar Collegiate Classic in March and the Spartans wrapped up spring play by taking second to ETSU at the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational.
The Legends is a private golf club located within the Chateau Elan Community. Unique in design, The Legends at Chateau Elan was crafted from the worldly experience of three great golfing champions: Gene Sarazen, Kathy Whitworth and Sam Snead. These champions lent their expertise during "on site" visits to help architect Denis Griffiths build one of top ranked courses in Georgia. The Legends was the home of the Sarazen World Open Championship, a PGA Tour event from 1994 through 1998 to honor Gene Sarazen.
As part of a multi-year agreement with the Gwinnett Sports Commission, the Men's Championship will remain at Chateau Elan through 2012. The Chateau Course serves as the venue in 2011. The Woodlands Course, which hosted in 2008, will be the site in 2012.
Play begins at 8 a.m. Monday off of holes No. 1 and No. 10. Fans can follow the action at Golfstat.com.
Fans can follow the Atlantic Sun on Twitter and on Facebook. Visit twitter.com/AtlanticSun to begin receiving updates on conference news, weekly awards, and from A-Sun championships. Atlantic Sun followers with a Facebook account can become a "fan" of the conference by visiting facebook.com/AtlanticSunConference.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.